What Is The Frame Of A Car? How To Check For Frame Damage

What is considered frame damage on a car

Traveling is made easy with vehicles. The concept of building cars and other autos was to reduce time on traveling.

Vehicles have pretty complicated features. A car has two most essential aspects: a car is built—first, the frame, and second, the chassis. The structure and chassis underwent several modifications from the 1930s till now.

In the 1930s, the cars had a frame and a chassis, and these are mended together, making it a single structure. This single structural form is known as unibody construction.

Now, what is the frame of a car?

A car’s frame is considered the most crucial component because it is the foundation upon which the entire vehicle is built.

Let’s take a deeper study of car frames.

What Is A Car Frame?

The frame of a car is an essential part that the manufacturers focus on. Without the edge, you can’t give the vehicle a shape.

In other words, the frame serves the car with the same function as the skeletal system does to the human body. Every other component is attached to the frame in some way or the other.

The chassis is also an important part, and people often confuse the chassis with the frame. However, both are entirely different and are attached.

It is impossible to build a vehicle without a frame. Every car, from sedans, SUVs, to Buses, etc., each vehicle requires a frame.

Functions Of Car Frame

  • The frame of the car supports all its body as well as mechanical components.
  • The frame deals with all the dynamic and static loads without any deflection or distortion.
  • The frame efficiently supports the load of passengers, other luggage, and even the vehicle’s weight.
  • The frame also bears with the torsional and horizontal twisting when the vehicle moves on a rough surface.
  • Deals with torque produced by the engine and transmission.
  • The frame deals with the impacts from collision or other forces caused due to acceleration, starting of the engine, and even braking.
  • Transverses the lateral force produced by the steering wheel, side wind, and street conditions.

Types Of Car Frames

There are many types of car frames used for car variants.

  • Ladder Frame: The ladder frame resembles a ladder, the simple and oldest form of car frame having separate chassis and frame design. It offers a good beam resistance, but torsion resistance is not that high.
  • Backbone Tube Frame: This type of frame is similar to body-on-frame designs. It has a flat-ladder-like structure along with two long frame rails parallel to each other.
  • X-Frame: This was used in the American full model cars back in the 1950-the 60s. This was used to diminish the height of the vehicle. These frames have rails that intersect each other in the seating compartment. X frames did not have much protection against collision.
  • Perimeter Frame: Introduced in the 1950s. It is very comparable to a ladder frame and is the overall design for body-on-frame vehicles. It had a diminished roofline and height. It offered a lower seating position and reduced torsional and beam resistance.
  • Platform Frame: This is a modified form of platform and backbone frames. It has an extended seating compartment floor with integrated frames for loadbearing and strength. Widely used in European cars from the 1950s to 1960s.
  • Unibody: This unibody structure means a definite type of frame formation in which the floor and chassis form a single structure. It is much lighter than other frames and is very rigid than separate body-chassis frames.

Now, these types of frames are the preferred ones for constructing mass-market vehicles.

What Is Frame Damage?

Frame damage stands for the damages caused to a component, which is part of an integral structure.

How To Determine Vehicle Frame Damage

If you are a four-wheeler enthusiast, you probably know how important the frame is for your car.

If you have been in an accident recently, then do consult your mechanic if you experience the following problems below:

1. Visible Damage

If you had an accident, you might see that some parts of your car are bent or damaged.

To be sure, look closely at your vehicle, and if you discover some signs of rust, crease, or cracks on the body, it typically indicates frame damage issues.

If possible, inspect your car if there is some damage at the bottom of the frame or look for a missing component. If yes, immediately consult with your mechanic and fix it as soon as possible.

2. Poor Alignment

After an accident, you are most likely to observe that your car is pulling, and you need to correct it often while driving.

If you are facing this problem, get your vehicle realigned. Getting it realigned can fix this problem.

3. Unfamiliar Noises

If your car has a bent frame, it will most likely create some squeaking or screeching sounds while running. These noises indicate significant frame damage at the interior of your car’s frame.

Do not overlook these minor noises as it sounds pretty harmless but can with time, and they can be a more significant threat to your car. Hence, please do try to fix it as soon as possible.

4. Dysfunction Of Shock And Suspensions

Bent frames of your vehicle can cause some wear and tears on the shock and suspension of your car.

And if the damage gets shifted to the side of your vehicle. The sides dealing with an extra amount of weight will get damaged faster than the other side.

If the shocks and suspensions get damaged, you will observe your car to be less stabilized, and controlling them on the road can prove to be complicated.

5. Dislocation Of Door And Windows

If your car’s frame is damaged or bent, the doors, bolts, and windows can fall out. So please, do check the areas of doors and bolts while inspecting the frame.

6. Poor Traction

Poor traction of the tires is an indication of frame damage.

For example, say you are trying to drive straight, but the car is veering diagonally. Now the difficulty in going straight indicates frame damage.

If you happen to encounter these problems, without further ado, take your car to an auto-body repair shop and get these issues fixed immediately.

For the time being, it may look harmless, but later it can be a more significant threat to your car while driving.

Therefore, please do consider these problems and get them fixed.

Maintenance

To maintain your car frame and chassis, you need to lubricate your car’s frame and routine inspections of your vehicle.

Lubricating your vehicle makes the parts function correctly, and periodic review helps you see any problem with your vehicle.

  • Lubrication: To lubricate your car, you will need a lubricating gun and grease. Load up the grease gun, get under your vehicle, and lubricate the areas needing lubrication like suspension joints, steering joints, etc.
  • Inspection: Go around your car to see any scratch or any damage on the body. Then, inspect the car’s underside and look if there is any wear and tear on the shock and suspensions, joints and make sure nothing needs replacement. If there is anything that requires replacement, please do consult with your technician.

This D-I-Y trick will hardly take you 30 minutes if you get the right hold tools to use correct techniques. However, if you are doing it for the first, you should take your time and do it carefully.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Frame Damage Reduce The Value Of A Car?

Frame damage is the worst of cases that can happen to a car. It makes the car suffer from many ailments. Moreover, it can affect a car’s value.

The vehicle can be repaired and bring it back to the company’s specifications, but it will still affect its road price. Frame damage can cause your car to lose its value by 30 – 70% of its current market price.

Can I Repair My Car’s Damaged Frame?

Yes, why not. You can repair your car’s damaged frame if you take your vehicle to a good automobile body shop with skilled technicians. The repairs are done to match the company’s specifications.

They use many high-tech tools that bring your car back in shape, one of the tools they use is hydraulic pressure which helps to straighten the bent parts of your vehicle.

How Much Will It Cost To Fix My Car’s Frame Damage?

Frame damage has taken a rise due to the increase in accidents; hence, it was evident that people would like to know how much money is required to repair the frame damage.

Although, the money depends on the severity of the damage to your car’s frame and the parts that are damaged. If it’s very severe, it may require the replacement of parts.

Repairing your car from the frame can cost you from $600 – $10,000. This is why we advise people to get car insurance.

Conclusion

No wonder cars are unique and have outstanding features starting from headlights to spoilers, engines, etc. however, the car’s frame is very much vulnerable to damages.

The car frame and chassis are the foundation of a vehicle. And these are vulnerable to accidents. Moreover, a damaged car frame can threaten your car’s life and value.

Here in this article, I have mentioned six signs that can help you figure out if your car’s frame is damaged.

If you see any one of these signs, please consider the signs and consult with a technician. Fixing it early can save you a lot of money in the future. Please drive safely and responsibly.

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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